DEAR ABBY: I am 57. Two years ago, I married a widower with four grown children. This is my second marriage. We moved to Louisville when my husband accepted a lucrative job here.
My dilemma is his four children. Three of them have spouses. Approximately every six weeks, all seven of them visit for a three-day weekend. Abby, they are wearing me out from cooking (none of the girls cook), picking up after them and doing mounds of laundry. After they leave, it takes me three days to clean up the house and recover.
I love my husband and have told him that I just can't do it anymore. He is upset with me and makes me feel like I am keeping him from his children. I have offered to host Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter, which is all I can handle. I'm at the point that I dread the holidays.
I have two children of my own and two grandchildren. I love to see them, but not every six weeks! I visit -- or they visit -- every three to four months, which is enough for me.
Abby, please tell me how to handle the situation without being the "wicked stepmother." -- OVERWHELMED IN KENTUCKY
DEAR OVERWHELMED: It is unfair for your husband to expect you to be cook and housemaid for houseguests that frequently. In order to lighten the burden on you, your husband should agree to hire part-time help during the weekends when his children descend upon you, so you'll have the time and energy to enjoy their company, too.
An alternative might be for you and your husband to visit his children on alternating holidays.
You deserve a break once in a while; consider planning an occasional weekend with friends to coincide with his children's visits.